1980 - October 1980
schlepping my way through life."
matter what you may think, I do not enjoy suffering. At least, not very
Ashleigh Brilliant -
only by appearing sane that I can keep a firm grip on my madness.
Ashleigh Brilliant -
July 26, 1980
This journal is
something of a departure for me ... a different format, anyway, after
years of spiral-bound notebooks and standard composition books. Maybe
I'll like this better; maybe I won't. We'll see.
Sitting at the
kitchen table with a cold beer, ignoring the TV buzzing on the kitchen
counter behind me, listening to the loud music emanating from the
apartment across the woods from mine. Terri is still in Canada with her
pals from Tennessee ... I've been alone for about four days now. She
called collect late last night, and then again this morning, and it
sounds like she's having a wild time. My
weekend, on the other hand, has thus far been something less than
wildly exciting ... at least, compared to last
weekend. George popped in unexpectedly last night and stayed the night,
and I might possibly go out with John tonight, but I've managed to lose
my goddamned Drivers License again and I'm afraid to go anywhere
(except Gatsby's, and that place is BORRRRRING.)
Sunday 4:15 p.m.
July 27, 1980
peaceful, a little burned out ... puttering around the apartment with
bare feet and freshly washed and trimmed hair, listening to tapes,
thinking about cleaning my bedroom. It could certainly use it. Or
should I call Bill and have him pick up some beer and come over? Hope
that George comes by, but intuition tells me he won't. I can always
"tell" when I'm going to see him.
I went over to
John's last night around 7:00. He doesn't have a phone yet - neither
one of "my men" do - so I was taking a gamble. But he was there, and we
ended up at Gatsby's, listening to the band Rail. Rhonda Ryckman and
Bill were there, too. I stayed the night at John's ... slept in his
waterbed with the black satin sheets and new red silk comforter !
John and George are
so different from each other. John is dark, brooding, slouching,
mysterious; George is fair, sunny, tender, quick to laughter. My
feelings for them are different, too. I care about them both, but in
(The words won't
Getting silly from
an afternoon of beer, sunshine and conversation ... Bill called at 5:00
and asked me to come over and look at his new apartment. He's a good
friend; it feels nice to have a close guy friend again, with no
sexual/romantic/other overtones. I wish that George would come by, but
I drove past the tav and his truck isn't there so I don't even know if
he's in the area.
Thinking ... about
what? My life. Living here; enjoying the feeling of living alone, even
if it's only for a few days until Terri comes back from Canada. My job.
My car. The men in my life. Wishing that Scott could see me now, and
see how well I've managed to survive without him. I am feeling
strangely at peace, almost against all odds. Am I going to look back at
this particular point in my life and consider it to be one of the
better times? Yes, I think that I will. It feels just fine to be alive
right now, thank you.
July 28, 1980
Sitting at "my
spot" at the kitchen table with my customary beer ... three huge loads
of laundry swirling around, upstairs in the laundry room. Should I work
tonight or not? I probably won't. Cool summer breeze coming through the
open patio door ... feels good on my hot, flushed, slightly headachy
face. Not an especially good day at work. Some days I really feel a
"part of things" at TAC, other days I don't fit in at all. Shades of
high school! Mike was hammering at me about payment histories, Patty
was getting on my nerves with her incessant perkiness, there wasn't
enough work to keep me occupied, etc. I didn't sleep particularly well
last night so maybe that had something to do with my grouchy mood. I
woke up with a horrible stomach around 3 a.m. and couldn't fall asleep
again for hours ... and then when I did, I had an awful dream about
Linda B. humiliating me in public. When I finally had to drag the ol'
bod out of bed, I felt like shit.
July 29, 1980
and almost agonizingly alone ... I was SURE that I would see George
tonight but he never showed. Depressed.
Wednesday 6:30 p.m.
July 30, 1980
Still haven't seen
George since last Saturday morning, and while the logical, rational
part of says to just be cool and not get all bent out of shape about
it, the wildly irrational part of me has decided this means I've blown
it, and he doesn't care anything about me. (Fool.) I've been thinking
about him so much the past few days ... I don't know if that's good or
Tuesday at work
August 12, 1980
Burned out. I made
a fool out of myself last night ... got drunk at Gatsby's and acted
like an idiot when I saw George with another girl.
BY THE RINGING OF MANY PHONES
August 13, 1980
Going to Gatsby's
right after work, and I'm excited ... I'll be seeing Bobby!
The latest in a series of Big Romances.
August 15, 1980
Joy & jubilation!!! We've been totally flat broke for weeks now
and I've hated it. Maybe now I can put gas in my car and pay some
people back and buy my own drinks at Gatsby's, instead of taking
freebies from Bobby.
I can't believe it. He's the bartender at Gatsby's, and we're madly in
love. First time I've felt like this since Scott left me, and I'm
walking around on air. It all began this week, but already he's telling
me that he's fallen in love, and I'll be damned -- I believe he's
sincere! Crazy, crazy guy ... beloved by all the crazies that frequent
the bar ... me included. He'll be 22 next month and I think he's cute
As for George ... I
don't know. I haven't seen him in two days, since the mutually
uncomfortable evening we spent at Gatsby's the other night. Over the
past two or three weeks we'd been spending a lot of time together, and
I started to really care. I'm not sure why I've "switched" so quickly
& completely from George to Bobby, unless it's because Bobby is
willing to have a committed relationship (as opposed to George's
infuriatingly footloose attitude). I've been having fun dating all
kinds of different people this summer, but I know that essentially I am
a one-person-person. I like commitment. I feel comfortable with it.
Some people can't handle it, I realize, but I need it.
August 16, 1980
Well, it's too late
now ... I'm in love. No going back at this point.
August 17, 1980
Terri is taking her
daughter L. home; I am sitting in the rocking chair with a beer,
thinking about making some dinner, relaxing after another terrific
weekend. Storming outside; peaceful and calm within the apartment and
within me. I'm in love, and it feels incredible. Unbelievable. Seven
months after Scott Wolf managed to so effectively shatter my heart, I
have achieved that which I thought was impossible ... I've begun to
Friday night Terri
and I went to Gatsby's for the fourth or fifth night running, to listen
to the band Child and for me to be near Bobby; we also partied with
Terri's new boyfriend Clyde (the guy who rollerskates everywhere), Bob
& Kathy M., and Becky & Renee from my office. After the
bar closed, Bobby came home with me and spent the night. We spent most
of Saturday in bed, recuperating and making love. Last night I went
into the bar alone, initially, but there were plenty of folks I knew
and of course Bobby was tending bar, so I wasn't really "alone." I
stayed the night at his place.
August 27, 1980
About a week and a
half later, and I have some major changes to write about. I don't
particularly feel like writing at the moment, but there isn't much else
to do and I think what I have to say is important.
I think this was
one of those "landmark days" that deserve a blue star in my datebook.
In a spectacular display of cool and bravura, I walked into Traveler's
Acceptance this morning and quit my job. Boom. Just like that.
Actually, to be 100% honest, what I was doing was beating them to the
punch ... the grapevine had forewarned me that my dismissal was
imminent, and for the sake of my pride, if not my
résumé, I thought it best to quit. Feeling
strangely unconcerned about it, too. A month or so ago I loved
my job, and I would have been terrified by the thought of leaving ...
but frankly I was beginning to hate it this past month or so. The
office is filled with a lot of pretentious, self-satisfied cretins, and
I couldn't stand it. Now begins once again the process of job-hunting.
But this time, dammit, I am NOT going to settle for the same kind of
lousy salary I got at Lusk, Ridgway and TAC. I've got to have more than
$700 a month if I want to stay alive.
As for Bobby ...
I am, at the
moment, sitting at his kitchen table with a beer, listening to the
stereo. I came over here to spend the night on Monday of last week (the
18th), and I haven't spent a night at home since. He asked me to move
in with him, and I said yes ... which is what I really need to write
about. If I do move in, and I mean really move in, lock, stock
& barrel, it won't be until next month, so I can give Ter
enough advance notice. That would also give me time to give it some
good thorough thought, and to see what happens with the job situation.
All kinds of variables are involved. Ter knows about it already -- that
is, she knows Bobby made the offer -- but the only person
I've really talked to about it has been my mom, when I called
her night before last.
now by a call from Terri, goddammit. I guess there's another fucking
warrant out for my arrest because I didn't pay that $15 speeding
ticket, and the police department just called my old roommate Rebecca,
looking for me. I still owe Rebbeca $100, and her boyfriend told Terri
to tell me that if I don't pay her by 11:00 tonight, they'll tell the
police where to find me. Isn't life wonderful?)
Anyway. Back to my
mother. (I'll temporarily shove thoughts of money and warrants and
people who hate me to the back of my brain.) She was surprisingly
supportive when I told her that I was considering moving in with Bobby.
It wasn't like she was encouraging me to actually go ahead & do
it; rather, she was simply amazingly understanding. I think that I
sorta expected her to go right through the roof and tell me I was being
an idiot -- the reaction, in fact, that I KNOW I'll get from my father!
-- but it was almost as though she wasn't surprised in the least. Come
to think about it, I guess that she probably wasn't. She just told me
to go ahead and do whatever I thought was wisest (which was little or
no help, but certainly the best thing for her to offer in the way of
advice), and I loved her for it.
As for the way I
feel about it ... I'm understandably preoccupied at the moment
(quitting my job/money/police/etc.), but I'll try to scribble at least
a few thoughts in that direction, for the sake of posterity! Initially,
the biggest part of me wants to go ahead with it. You know the way I am
about such things. Now that I've already had the experience of living
with the man I'm in love with -- thank you, Scott -- I think I've been
spoiled. I like it. I like knowing that the person I love is going to
be waking up next to me in the morning. I feel comfortable with that.
On the other hand, these past few months have taught me to value and
enjoy another type of lifestyle ... once I managed to crawl out of the
sackcloth & ashes I wore after Scott left, I began to
appreciate the freedom that had been unexpectedly handed to me. It's
been FUN going out with all manner of different men. The basic
unattached swinging bachelorette?! The only thing is that I was lonely
a lot of the time, whether I wanted to admit it or not. There wasn't
anyone special, and I missed that. What a paradox. Busy all the time,
going out and running around and enjoying myself, but still feeling
empty and lost inside because I was accustomed to having a particular
someone to care about genuinely.
Bobby is at work;
Jeff (the other roommate) isn't home yet -- I'm alone, sitting in the
recliner in my nightgown, watching TV. I was going to go out for a beer
or something, but I made myself a big dinner and took a bath and now
I'm just too relaxed to move. I think I'll just slip into bed in a
little while with a book and go to sleep early ... knowing that later
tonight, probably when I'm asleep, Bobby will come home and lay down
next to me. A nice feeling. I do love the man.
August 28, 1980
The next day.
Sitting in the kitchen (yes, with a beer) -- trying to work up the
nerve to call my family and beg for money. I am NERVOUS.
August 29, 1980
Burned out from
last night, but preparing to go out and do it again tonight, naturally.
Anyhow. Terri was
over here last night after the bars closed, and me, Bobby and Chris
were sitting around talking and drinking. She read what I've written
the last few pages, about possibly moving in with Bobby, and was she
PISSED. Her parting words to me, shouted up the stairs as she was
leaving, were "Goodbye, BITCH." Oops. She's not tending bar at Dave's
Place tonight so I'll probably run into her somewhere during the course
of the evening ... either at the tav or at Gatsby's. Should be
interesting, anyway. Maybe I should take my boxing gloves?
financial/employment situation is still horrendously fucked, but at
least things between Bobby and I get better every day ... at least, in
my estimation they are. It isn't always easy to get a 100% accurate
reading from the man because most of the time he's joking around. I
would hazard a guess, though, and say that he does love me.
Tuesday 6 p.m.
September 2, 1980
This is very
difficult for me to write about, so I'm going to be brief.
On Saturday night
Terri, her boyfriend Ray P. and I were in a car accident while we were
on our way from the tav to Gatsby's, leaving my car destroyed and Terri
with 300 stitches all over her body. Miraculously both Ray and I walked
away with only minor cuts and (especially on me) bruises. Terri was
driving. She ran a red light about five doors down from Gatsby's and we
were hit broadside, rolling twice and landing upside down. Terri and
Ray went to the hospital, and somehow I managed to walk in the rain up
the street to Gatsby's, where I proceeded to shoot enough straight
vodka to require two men (Bobby included) to get me home.
So now I have no
job and no car. I don't think I can even expand on it at this
point ... maybe later. Bobby is out getting drunk and running around,
and Jeff isn't home; I've cleaned this apartment thoroughly, done a
laundry and washed my hair, and now I'm so fucking bored I could
scream. Even if I have to walk all the way down to Dave's Place, I am
going to get out of this apartment for a while, RIGHT NOW.
Didn't go out after
all ... I'm stranded. I just realized that I don't even have a pair of shoes
or a jacket or I
might have walked somewhere, anything to get the hell out of here for
an evening. Goddammit anyway. I really loved that car. The thought of
it sitting in some cold, dark junkyard somewhere, like a crumpled
cigarette, makes me sick. The thought of Terri behind the wheel of my
car, driving it through that red light while I was screaming at her to
knock it off ... just before we were hit ... makes me feel ...
unbelievably, seethingly angry. Not necessarily at Terri so much as at
my own dumb luck.
September 3, 1980
Bobby was already
gone when I got up this morning at 11:00. I don't know where he is, but
frankly I don't care a whole hell of a lot. I feel like I'm in a
monastery ... I'm getting so tired of being cooped up in this apartment
with nothing but dumb soap operas and ice water to keep me occupied.
Terri came over and
we went down to the tavern for about an hour this afternoon. Bobby was
"just coming in" as we left, and he was "just leaving" when we got
back, and I'm trying very desperately not to pull my "poor
little me, I was just in a car accident, why don't you love me anymore"
... but it was HARD. In the past two days we've barely spoken
ten mutually coherent words to each other, and I just don't understand
it. I feel as though I've done something horrendously wrong with this
budding relationship of outs but I'll be damned if I can put my finger
on what it was. Maybe he's feeling emotionally strangled because I'm so
stuck now, without a car or a job, and he's afraid that I'm trying to
rob him of some measure of freedom. I'm not. Even if none of this shit
had happened this past week, I would STILL desire a few minutes of his
time, here & there. I still feel as though I barely know the
man, and I would STILL like to know exactly who it is I've fallen in
love with! At this point I know him peripherally at
best. I know a little bit about his general character but practically
nothing about his background, and nothing, period, about the
innerworkings of his heart and his mind. I guess I'm used to knowing
such things about the men I choose to be genuinely involved with. I've
been spoiled. I expect men to talk to me. I
expect, in return, to be able to talk to them.
McC. and I are going out tonight ... thank God. We haven't
much money, but that's not the issue. Just to get the hell out of here
for an evening is important to me. We're deliberately NOT going to
hurt gets worse
And the heart gets harder ...
September 5, 1980
Extremely sad. As
soon as he gets out of the shower, he's going to come down here and
tell me either that he doesn't love me anymore, or that he's changed
his mind and doesn't want me to move in with him. Or both. Probably.
September 6, 1980
Things are not
going exceptionally well ... and that's an understatement. Bobby and I
are still barely speaking to each other and I'll be damned if I know
why. At the moment he's laying on the couch watching the U.S. Open, and
I'm in the armchair next to him. I can count the number of words we've
exchanged today on the fingers of one hand.
Sitting at home ...
by choice. I've decided something, sitting here listening to the rain
pouring down outside. I've decided that the thing I have to do is come
right out and ask Bobby whether or not he feels that the relationship
is worth developing further. I'm just afraid I know what the answer
September 8, 1980
Watching "All My
Children." (Billy Clyde has just locked Benny & Estelle in the
mausoleum ... Devin & Wally aren't getting along ... Ellen and
Mark are worried Wally will find out about Devin's affair with Sean ...
Chuck is at the cemetery, looking for Benny.) I hesitate to make any
absolute critique of the situation with Bobby, but it seems to be just
a little bit better. Maybe I'm imagining it, but I could swear it's
September 11, 1980
Taking a break from
cleaning the apartment to sit down with a cigarette, a beer and a pen,
and scribble a few words. Don't know where Bobby is; he tore out of
here in a big hurry about an hour and a half ago, mumbling something
about an "emergency" at Gatsby's. He slept on the couch again last
night, but that's nothing out of the ordinary. I guess that the bedroom
upstairs is going to be "mine," and he'll sleep up there with me
whenever the mood strikes him. I'm worried about the man's libido ...
or rather, his lack of one.
Monday night when I
was out with Terri (and later, with One-Armed Rick), I ran into Bobby
at The Somewhere Else and we finally talked. Granted, we were both
pretty high, and nothing much was settled to my complete satisfaction,
but then again this is proving to be one of the stranger relationships
I've ever had & I'm learning to expect the unexpected. Bobby is
completely undemonstrative. In fact, most of the time now he completely
ignores me. The weird part is that it didn't start out that way, one
brief month ago -- he was the one who was pursuing me,
with amazing ardor, and I was the one who was ignoring him
. Strange how things turn around.
I think I may have
found a job, but I'm purposely restraining myself from getting too
excited in case it turns I don't get it after all. I've done so much
walking and pavement-pounding this week that my feet are covered with
blisters. I'm not going through an employment agency this time, so that
leaves me no other recourse but to comb the "Help Wanted" ads and knock
on doors ... a decidedly screwed proposition, particularly since I
don't have a car anymore and that limits my mobility quite a bit.
Anyway, I should know for sure by tomorrow whether or not I got the
job, but I think there's a good chance that I did.
As for moving in
with Bobby and Jeff, I guess that I'm going to go ahead and do it. No
real surprise. I have to be real honest, though, and say that my heart
isn't it anywhere near as much as it was the night he asked me. Too
much has changed. In a short two weeks it has turned into something
more nearly akin to a business proposition than anything else: rent
split three ways, and that's about it. We're not actually going to be
"living together" -- we'll be roommates. I'm not deluding myself. I
expect nothing more from the man than an occasional hello and a request
for my part of the rent money.
Tuesday night 10:00
September 16, 1980
bone-tired and footsore ... I've done a hell of a lot of tramping
around today and I just got home. No one else is here; the apartment is
a disaster area. Bobby doesn't work tonight so my guess is that he's at
the tavern, working on a thorough drunk.
I've decided not to
take the job at Jack Lynch Appliance; not enough money, primarily, and
not enough challenge. I'm going to keep looking. I've FINALLY got a
decent pair of new shoes, so I can walk all over Bellevue without fear
of more blisters.
September 17, 1980
A light - or two -
at the end of the tunnel??
Last night Bobby
actually came upstairs and made love to me, on his own volition, very
sweetly and tenderly ... complete with a "You know what? I still love
you" at the end. Goddammit. Just when my heart was beginning to harden
a little, he turns me upside down again. Against my own better judgment
I love this turkey and I'm going to go ahead & move in. I would
like to be a callous, unfeeling woman, but I can't be where Bobby is
concerned. When he wants to be, he can be a very, very special person.
I have a job -- I
think. Actually it's between me and two other people, but I just feel
it in my bones. I know I'm going to be the receptionist for Pace
Development Corporation. I made a terrific showing this morning; so
good, in fact, that they immediately told me I'm among the top three
being considered, and I should come back tomorrow morning at 10:30 for
a second interview with the vice president. I have all of the
qualifications and I just KNOW that I could get this job if I apply
myself. It's right down on the street, right on the bus line, so even
if I don't get a car right away I'll still be able to get to &
from work with relative ease. Starting salary is $800 a month, which
would be wonderful. All in all, getting this job would be an absolute
I didn't get
job. I seem to recall it had something to do with the typing test ...
one of the other applicants had a higher score or something.
September 20, 1980
Completely at loose
ends ... all I've been doing the past couple of days has been watching
TV and sleeping, alternately. I've been deathly ill with a cold that
just won't let up, so my energy reserves have been at an all-time low.
Billy is back from
California for a few days, by the way. He called me out of the blue on
Thursday night and we went to Gatsby's for a few drinks. I'm hoping
that I get to see him tonight because there's still so much I want to
talk to him about.
Haven't heard from
Bill or from Michael, so I'm assuming that I'm staying home tonight
alone ... Bobby is at work and Jeff left with Kelly hours ago. I just
ate half a hit of acid for lack of anything better to do. Should be
September 23, 1980
Well ... where do I
begin? I have so much on my mind that it gives me a headache just
thinking about it all.
I'm at Dad's house.
I took the bus down here yesterday, and I plan to stay here for a few
days, and then perhaps a couple of days with Grandma & Grandpa.
My purpose for the visit is twofold ... originally I was just trying to
get away from Bellevue for a few days and seek the refuge of family
until I could figure out what I'm going to do ... but then I learned
that Jasper died on Saturday night and I knew that Dad was undoubtedly
heartbroken, and could probably use some company, and as it turns out I
September 24, 1980
anything here (at Dad's). The past two days have been utterly,
completely lazy. I've got the tail-end of a bad cold and a nagging
cough that won't disappear, and I just don't feel like doing a damned
thing. When Dad gets home from work tonight he wants to go out to
dinner, so at least I took a shower, washed my hair and made up my
I've been fighting
the ridiculous urge to call Bobby, on one pretense or another ... just
to hear his voice. He probably isn't home anyway, though, so there's no
September 25, 1980
hungover. Last night I went out with my old high school/college
boyfriend, Scott S., and didn't get back to bed until 8:00 this morning
... now I'm really dragging my ass.
Decision made: I am
going to officially move in with Bobby, if he'll still have
me. I really miss him -- I realized that last night. I'm actually
homesick for Bellevue! Moving in with him creates new problems, though:
$147 worth of rent that I have to come up with in the next ten days,
AND moving my stuff out of the old apartment and into Bobby's. Who can
I get to help me??
made, just now. When I go back to Bellevue (in Saturday?) I'm going to
go and apply at Kelly Temporary Services. It's time to get this show
back on the road.
September 27, 1980
going home in a couple of hours. I'm tired of hiding, and I'm anxious
to meet my problems face-to-face. Besides, Dad has given me a little
spending money and I've got "the itch" to go out tonight ... IN
BELLEVUE. The only catch is that Dad's going to be disappointed that
I'm leaving so soon.
September 29, 1980
Bobby and Jeff are
out together somewhere; I'm home alone, half-drunk, lonely, pissed.
Bobby made a big
point of asking Jeff last night to go to the movies tonight
("Hopscotch"), and I was very pointedly not
included. I'm beginning to hate this whole situation. If I had even an
ounce of pride I wouldn't be settling for this degrading, unsatisfying
pseudo-relationship. As it is, I don't have a hell of a lot of choice.
I want very desperately to stay here on the Eastside, for one thing.
For another, I don't want to go back and live with anyone in the
family. Doing that would be admitting humiliating defeat: staying with
Dad last week convinced me of that. Shit. What the hell do I do??
Live in a situation that makes me feel like excess baggage, maybe
waiting for Randy to get out of prison and come "rescue" me ... or go
crawling home to Dad with my tail between my legs, acknowledging my own
pathetic inability to manage my life ... ??
Drenched. I walked
in the pouring rain to buy more beer to feed my soul.
October 1, 1980
depressed, although the monthly shuffling of hormonal combinations may
have as much to do with it as the piteously screwed condition of my
life. I have just finished consuming an entire frozen sausage pizza
and, in a halfhearted attempt at getting drunk, one half of a six-pack
of beer. No one home but me, "The Eyes of Laura Mars" on TV, and this
prevailing loneliness. I enjoy my own company as a rule, but too much
of anything gets old.
I believe I've come
up with another "scheme," money-wise, but I don't want to talk about it
right now. I should know tomorrow. I also don't want to
talk about my relationship with Bobby, because it's non-existent. I
don't want to talk about my job, my car, or my financial situation for
the same reason.
October 6, 1980
Kind of schlepping
my way through life ... drinking too much, sleeping too much, spending
my days listening to music and watching soap operas, definitely not
accomplishing anything. I'm a mess.
Bobby and I had
quite a talk late Saturday night, after everyone else had gone to bed
or gone home. The gist of the situation is that he's decided he doesn't
love me, but he still "cares" and I can continue to live here as long
as I don't get too serious ... or something like that. We were both
real high at the time so I don't know how much of it was sincere, but
the truly confusing part was that after this whole conversation was
over we proceeded to make love.
Friday night/Saturday morning
October 10 or 11
Totally screwed up,
but amazingly cognizant. Terri's old boyfriend Ray P. showed up at my
door tonight, completely out of the blue, to let me know that he had
some of my clothes and records stashed at his house. (Terri stashed
them there, after she moved out of our apartment -- I think she was
trying to rip me off.) He and I ended up going out and playing poker
with two other couples, friends of his (Dave & Cathy, Scott
& Leslie). I had a ball. I've never played poker in my life,
but I had fun! 4:00 in the a.m. ... oh shit. I'm sitting here
upstairs in the bedroom, listening to "Rocky Horror" on cassette,
drinking a beer.
to throw a rock?